The Pillars which support the correct Da’wah – Shaykh Salih al-Fawzan


All praise is for Allaah, Lord of all the Worlds, who ordered us to follow His Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  and to call to His Way, and may Allaah send praises and blessings of peace upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon his family, his Companions, and those who truly follow them until the Day of Judgement. To proceed:

Calling to Allaah (ad-Dawah ilallaah) is the way of the Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  and his followers, as Allaah, the Most High, says:

قُلْ هَٰذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّهِ ۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي ۖ وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

“Say, Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ) , this is my way, I call to Allaah (i.e. to the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, alone, with no partner) upon certain knowledge – I, and those who follow me. I declare Allaah free and far removed from all that they associate as partners with Him, and I am free of those who worship anything else along with Him.” [Soorah Yoosuf (12):108]

Indeed calling to Allaah was the mission of all the Messengers and their followers, in order to bring the people out from darkness and into light, from unbelief (kufr) to true Faith (eemaan), from shirk [2] to tawheed [3], and from the Fire to Paradise. This call to Allaah rests upon firm pillars, and is established upon foundations which are absolutely essential. If any of these are missing the da’wah will not be correct and will not produce the desired results – no matter how much effort is expended and time wasted – and this is the reality which we witness with regard to many of the present day calls which are not supported by those pillars and built upon those foundations. These pillars which support the correct da’wah are clearly shown in the Book and the Sunnah, and can be summarized as follows:

01.Knowledge of that which one calls to:

Since the ignorant person is not suitable to be a caller (daa’ee). Allaah, the Most High, said to His Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  :

قُلْ هَٰذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللَّهِ ۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي

“Say, O Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ), this is my way: I call to Allaah (to the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah, alone, having no partner) upon certain knowledge (baseerah). I, and those who follow me.” [Soorah Yoosuf (12):108]

‘Baseerah’ is knowledge. So the caller is certain to face those who are scholars of misguidance, those who will attack him with doubts and futile arguments in order to rebut the truth. Allaah, the Most High, says,

وَجَادِلْهُم بِالَّتِي هِيَ أَحْسَنُ

“And argue with them in a way that is better.” [Soorah an-Nahl (16):125]

Furthermore the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم ) said to Mu’aadh, radiyallaahu ‘anhu, “You are going to a people from the People of the Book.” So if the caller is not armed with sufficient knowledge for him to face every doubt and contend with every opponent, then he will be defeated in the first encounter, and will be halted at the beginning of the way.

02.Acting in accordance with that which he calls to:

So that he will be a good example – his actions attesting to his words, and leaving no excuse for the opponents of the Truth. Allaah, the Most High, said about His Prophet Shu’ayb that he said to his people:

وَمَا أُرِيدُ أَنْ أُخَالِفَكُمْ إِلَىٰ مَا أَنْهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ ۚ إِنْ أُرِيدُ إِلَّا الْإِصْلَاحَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ

“I do not wish to forbid you from something and then do it myself. Rather I only wish to rectify you as far as I am able.” [Soorah Hood (11):88]

Allaah, the Most High, said to His Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  :

قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ – لَا شَرِيكَ لَهُ ۖ وَبِذَٰلِكَ أُمِرْتُ وَأَنَا أَوَّلُ الْمُسْلِمِينَ

“Say, O Muhammad, indeed my Prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are all purely and solely for Allaah, Lord of all the Worlds. There is no share in any of that for other than Him. That is what my Lord ordered me, and I am the first of this nation to submit to Allaah as a Muslim.” [Soorah al-An’aam (6):162-163]

Allaah, the Most High, said:

وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ قَوْلًا مِّمَّن دَعَا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا

“Who is better in speech than one who calls the people to Allaah and does righteous deeds?”
[Soorah Fussilat (41):33]

03.Purity Of intention (al-ikhlaas):

Such that the call is made purely and sincerely to seek the Face of Allaah (and seeking His Reward) – not for show, or repute, or status, or leadership, nor desiring worldly goals – since if any of these goals adulterate it, the call will not be for Allaah, rather it would then be a call for oneself or for the attainment of the worldly goal – as Allaah informs that His Prophets said to their people:

لَّا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ أَجْرًا

“I do not ask you for any reward for conveying this Qur’aan.” [Soorah al-An’aam (6):90]

لَا أَسْأَلُكُمْ عَلَيْهِ مَالًا ۖ إِنْ أَجْرِيَ إِلَّا عَلَى اللَّهِ

“I do not ask you for any wealth for my admonition.” [Soorah Hood (11):29]

04.Beginning with what is of primary importance, then with that which comes next in importance, and so on:

So firstly he calls to the correction of ‘aqeedah (belief and creed) – by ordering that all worship is made for Allaah, and shirk is forbidden. Then ordering the establishment of the Prayer, and the payment of the Zakah, and that the obligatory duties are carried out and that forbidden things are avoided. This was the procedure followed by all of the Messengers, as Allaah, the Most High, says:

“We sent a Messenger to every nation, ordering them that they should worship Allaah alone, obey Him and make their worship purely for Him, and that they should avoid everything worshipped besides Allaah.” [Soorah an-Nahl (16):36]

Allaah, the Most High, says:

“We did not send any Messenger before you, O Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  , except that We revealed to Him that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah – so make all of your worship purely for Allaah.”  [ Soorah al-Ambiyaa (21):25]

Furthermore when the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   sent Mu’aadh to Yemen he (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   said to him,

“Indeed you are going to a people from the People of the Book – so let the first thing that you call them to be the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah. So if they accept that then inform them that Allaah has obligated five Prayers upon them in each day and night…”

The best example of giving da’wah is to be found in the method of the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   – it is the most perfect and complete methodology – in that he (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   remained in Makkah for thirteen years, calling the people to tawheed and forbidding them from shirk, before (he ordered) them with Prayer, Zakaat, Fasting and Hajj, and before he (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   forbade them from usury, fornication, theft and murder.

05.Patient perseverance in facing difficulties encountered in calling to Allaah, and in facing harm from the people:

For the path of da’wah is not strewn with roses, rather it is covered with hardships and hazards. The best example of this is the case of the Messengers, may Allaah’s Praises and Blessings of peace be upon them all, with regard to the harm and the mockery which they suffered from their people. As Allaah, the Most High, said to His Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  :

“Indeed Messengers were mocked before you, but those who mocked them were overtaken by the punishment which they made light of.” [Soorah al-An’aam (6):10]

He, the Most High, said:

“Indeed Messengers were also denied before you, but they bore these denials with patient perseverance, and they suffered harm until Our help came to them.” [Soorah al-An’aam (6):34]

Likewise the followers of the Prophets are met with the same harm and hardship in proportion to their effort in calling to Allaah, following the example of those noble Messengers – may Allaah’s praises and purest blessings of peace be upon them.

06. The caller must be a person of good manners:

He must use wisdom in his call, since this will be an important reason for the acceptance of his call. Just as Allaah ordered His two noble Prophets, Moosa and Haaroon, that this was the manner in which they were to face the worst unbeliever upon the earth – Fir’awn (Pharaoh) – who claimed Lordship for himself. Allaah, the One free of all imperfections, said:

“And speak mildly to him that he might accept admonition or fear and obey Allaah.”  [Soorah Taa Haa (20):44]

Allaah, the Most High, said to Moosa, ‘alayhis-salaatu was-salaam:

“Go to Fir’awn (Pharaoh) who has transgressed all bounds in his haughtiness, pride and disbelief, and say, ‘Will you not purify yourself from the sin of disbelief and be obedient to your Lord, so that you may submit fearfully to Him and obey Him?’” [Soorah an-Naazi’aat (79):17-19]

Allaah, the Most High, said, concerning His Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  :

“By the Mercy of Allaah you behaved with gentleness to them and had you been severe and harsh-hearted they would have left you and departed.” [Soorah Aal-’Imraan (3):159]

Allaah, the Most High, says:

“Indeed you, O Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  , are on an exalted standard of character.” [Soorah al-Qalam (68): 4]

He, the Most High, says:

“O Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  , call mankind to the way prescribed by your Lord (i.e. Islaam) with the Revelation sent down to you (the Book and the Sunnah), and admonish them with the examples and warnings which Allaah has provided in His Book, and argue with them in a way that is better.” [Soorah an-Nahl (16):125]

07.The caller must remain firm in his expectation and hope for good:

He should not despair of the effectiveness of his call, or about the guidance of his people. Nor should he despair about the aid and the help of Allaah, even if a long time passes, and again he has the best example in this matter in the Messengers of Allaah. So the Prophet of Allaah, Nooh, ‘alayhis-salaatu was-salaam, remained amongst his people for nine hundred and fifty years, calling them to Allaah.

Also when the harm and the hurt of the unbelievers became severe against the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )  , and the angel of the mountains came to him (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   asking if he wanted him to crush them between the two mountains, he (صلّى الله عليه وسلّم )   replied, “No, I wish to have patience with them, hopefully Allaah will produce from their offspring those who will worship Allaah alone, not giving any partner to Him.”  [Reported by Bukhaaree (Eng. trans. 4/300 no.454) and Muslim (Eng. trans. 3/987 no.4425)]

If the caller lacks this attribute he will halt at the start of the path and feel discouraged and frustrated.

Read further: Da’wah of the present day groups (jamaa’aat) who have neglected the importance of ‘aqeedah (correct belief and creed) – Shaykh Saalih Fawzan


[2] Attribution of worship or any of Allaah’s Rights to others besides Allaah.

[3] The pure worship of Allaah alone, recognizing Him as the sole Lord – the possessor of the most perfect Names and Attributes.

[Excerpted from : Shaykh Saalih Fawzan’s hafidhahullaah Introduction to the book : “The Methodology of the Prophets in Calling to Allaah – that is the way of wisdom and intelligence” – by Shaykh Rabee hafidhahullaah, translated by Dawud Burbank rahimahullah]

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